What I learned about myself when I wrote out all the books I’ve ever read

A month ago www.goodreads.com went down for maintenance for over two hours and I had a bit of a breakdown. It felt as if all the books I read were being held ransom. Goodreads is my go too site for everything book. Before I start reading a book I visit Goodreads, before I buy a book I must get Goodreads’ blessings, when I finish a book I go over to Goodreads, my most current to be read (TBR) list is on Goodreads. Needless to say, I rely heavily on Goodreads for every book related thing. It is no wonder I felt a sense of unease during the entire time Goodreads was down for maintenance.

A thought crossed my mind, “what if Goodreads goes down FOREVER….” I would have no record of all the books I read, when I read them and the rating I gave them. It is with that thought I decided to go on a journey (because it was a journey) of writing out all 978 books I’ve read, including the title, author and rating for each. The time I spent writing out the nine hundred and seventy-eight books I learned a lot of things about myself and my reading habits, the main being:

 

1. I am a Journal Snob
Before I could even start writing out the list of books, I spent a solid 24hrs trying to decide which journal I would have the privilege of holding such valuable information. I was between a solid black Moleskin that was given to me by a friend for my birthday and another bright neon green journal I picked up randomly at Michaels. I did a vote off on Instagram and the Moleskin won. Initially I was for the Moleskin because it was used by famous writers and I could always continue the collection when the first journal runs out. However, when I did a writing test, the Moleskin page was too thin so the ink bled over and the space between the lines were too small. I had no choice but to go with the bright coloured neon green journal with the word “Optimist” on the cover. Having thought long and hard, I realize I made the right choice. If I didn’t it’s too late because I won’t be re-writing that list again.

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P.S. If anyone knows where I can find this journal please message me, its not on Amazon and I need a back up for when the pages in the first one runs out.

2. I am a Perfectionist
There were numerous times during this project where I made a mistake and my go-too response was to rip the entire page out and start fresh. Had I followed this mindset I would end up with no pages. At a certain point I had to say “Cindy, it is fine to have a few errors… but just a few”.

3. I used to be a Binge Reader
I found out I was once a Binge reader. I noticed back in 2012 and 2013 I binge read all of John Grisham’s novels, Sidney Sheldon, Jeffrey Archer etc. I also notice that I was a serial series reader. If I started a series I HAD to read every book in the series, I stopped doing that a few years later. I think I stopped the month after I spend a whole 6 weeks reading all the Game of Thrones books and the series broke me. The more I age as a reader the less I find the need to proudly say, “I read ALL of John Doe’s books”.

4. I cannot draw a star
I cannot for the life of me draw a star. I spent a good day trying to draw the perfect star and I gave up trying. My star drawing ability is non-existent.

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5. I read more when I am single
I discovered that I am the “Bros over books” kinda girl. I noticed the times I was in a relationship my reading decreased significantly. Don’t get me wrong, I was still reading but where I used to read 10 books a month, I was down to 3. I was a little blown away by this discovery to be honest, I am always one for reading but once I get in a relationship, I apparently allow my books and Kindle to collect dust.

 

6. I am a goal-oriented reader
When I looked on my reading habit I realized that I am one of those persons who love making a goal and hitting or surpassing that goal. I found that January and December are the months in which I read a lot more than usual. January, because it’s the start of the year and I am pumped to meet my goal, and December because I either am so far away from my goal, OR I want to surpass my goal. Honestly, this goal-oriented reader in my is still alive and kicking. Every year I take part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge with the aim of reading more than I read the year before.

 

7. I no longer like big books
In looking back on my reading history, I noticed that in 2013 the number of books I read that were over 600 pages decreased significantly. I no longer liked big books. I think this happened after I spent 5-7weeks reading all the Game of Thrones books. After finishing the series, I lost my ability and motivation to read big books. If I am being honest, big books scare me. They can be so daunting and often seem insurmountable. I know this is a problem, so this year I started consciously reading at least one big book a month.

 

I don’t remember taking the time to really reflect on the kind of reader I am, however, when you spend an entire weekend writing out over 900 books, you are bound to learn more about yourself.

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